March is Women’s History Month, so we want to take this opportunity to recognize some of the women who have been so important in the history of the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery.
Today we want to tell you about Fran Pieper.
Since 1976 Fran has worked diligently to help children who have been neglected or abused, and women who have survived sexual abuse or domestic violence. That is over four decades of tirelessly fighting to make sure women and children are safe. She is a true champion for mothers and babies.
Years before the first Crisis Nursery opened in Deaconess Hospital in 1986, Fran began the Child Abuse Task Force in St. Charles County (which became the present Family Stress Council of St. Charles County); and she donated countless hours to increase awareness of child abuse. Knowing that preventing child abuse is key to saving children, in 1992, she and DiAnne Mueller, our CEO, pulled together all the right people to make the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery’s St. Charles location a reality. That was the first of three Nurseries and two Outreach Centers currently located in St. Charles County.
When asked if, after 40 years of continuing to fight against child abuse, she ever gets worn down and tempted to quit, Fran answered ardently, “Never. Never. Never.” Fran explained that in her difficult childhood several people at different times took time to help her, so she knows first hand the difference one person can make. “I know there are children out there that need help…so I can’t stop.”
Fran has been a part of the Crisis Nursery Family for many, many years. She loves the Nursery’s mission and everything it does, but she is most proud of the Family Empowerment Program (FEP). It is through the FEP children have their most basic needs met, parents improve their parenting skills, and lives are changed. Fran says, “We know children who stay at the Nursery are safe and happy while they are there, but the FEP aftercare where big changes are made. The FEP improves the whole structure of the family, the changes are monumental and generational.”
Fran has been the Guardian Angel of the Saint Louis Crisis Nursery. Her soft smile, her unending generosity, and her calming spirit give strength to everyone who works at the Nursery. She volunteers her time and energy and gives freely from the heart. Fran goes above and beyond and asks nothing in return.